Chicago Cubs: MLBPA should leave no player behind

"W Flag" -(Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)
"W Flag" -(Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images) /
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Chicago Cubs
Michael Weiner(right), MLBPA (Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images) /

Chicago Cubs: Rule change leaves 600 MLB players pension poor

Before 1980, an MLB player had to have four years of service to get any benefit and to be permitted to buy into the league’s umbrella health plan. Without four years, you were not eligible for squat. Once you hit that magic four, then you were eligible for benefits and could then start contributing money into a health insurance plan.  After the rule change, you only needed 43 active game days where you played to collect a pension and just one active game day to be eligible for the health insurance plan.

Well, what’s wrong with that? Right? It just so happens that the benefit was made better for players, only not all players. The deal was never made retroactive. That meant some players retired after 1980 getting different benefits than a player who retired under the old system. After 1980 those players that first retired received an excellent pension under a much more lucrative system. Gladstone also wrote about this tragedy:

"The problem for men like Fanzone, and former White Sox outfielder Bob “The Macaroni Pony” Coluccio, is that the agreement wasn’t made retroactive. So though he had three and one-half years of service, all Fanzone has been receiving for his time in “The Show” is a yearly stipend that, after taxes, comes to $6,250."

Meanwhile, a vested retiree who played after 1980 can earn up to $225,000.

Roughly 626 MLB players fell into the same hole as Fanzone. That’s just a handful of players compared to all those who have played the game professionally. Any executive could easily see this egregious error most likely drove some players to bankruptcy, homelessness, poverty, drugs or alcoholism.

For what? It’s just 600 players!

Both these organizations are making philanthropic donations of $3 million to non-profit charities for 2020. What about taking care of your own family first? If these orgs took the next five year’s worth of non-profit donations and gave it to these players, it could be enough.

Executive Director of the MLBPA Michael Weiner got the 600 players some monies in 2011.  However, the 600 believed if they hired one of their own to manage the organization, the chances of rectifying the outstanding debt owed to them would inevitably happen.

Enter Tony Clark.